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Trenton School Board Votes to Outsource IT Department

The Trenton Board of Education voted in favor of outsourcing the Technology Department at Trenton Public Schools to save costs.

The Technology Department at Trenton Public Schools was outsourced Monday night after members of the voted in favor of signing a 1-year contract with a company called inaCOMP.

The contract includes three employee positions for which the three current technology employees can interview for, but the contract does not guarantee the current employees' jobs.

The decision followed a recommendation from three school employees who are currently vying for the open superintendent spot after former Superintendent John Savel retired. The three are competing in a .

Vince Porreca, principal at , Stephanie O'Connor, principal at and Rodney Wakeham, assistant principal at , presented cost savings for the district by outsourcing the department.

"In looking at our consideration for this recommendation for technology has been that we (as a district) are struggling with it," O'Connor said. "We have spent a lot of time trying to get it to work for us, instead of it being just a background for us and having it be an integration in our curriculum and have it be just a part of what we do."

O'Connor went on to explain some of the problems the district faces with different aspects of computer-related technology, including printers, the network and the server.

"It shouldn't be something that is frustrating for teachers to use, frustrating for students to use," O'Connor said. "We want it to be just seamless."

The cost for the technology coordinator, Dean Massalsky, and two PC technicians, Bob Nelson and Pat Kujala, was budgeted for about $250,500 for the 2011-12 school year.

Two "break and fix" technicians through inaCOMP would cost about $116,000 at 40 hours per week for 52 weeks and a mid-level technology director through inaCOMP would be about $61,000 for about half that time.

When employee costs are added to additional costs for switching to inaCOMP, the district would save about $42,000 annually by outsourcing the department.

Massalsky attempted to speak to board members just before they voted, but Board President Dennis Bearden asked him to speak during the public comments portion of the meeting.

"You guys are about to take away all three of our jobs and I think that after 13 years here that there could be an exception made for two or three minutes," Massalsky said. "If not, that's fine. I'll wait until public comment, but at that point the vote's already been made."

Massalsky left the meeting immediately after board members voted and did not speak during public comments.

"The decision that's about to go forth in this case is about potentially moving to a contractor that we have specifically asked to consider our employees, that are currently in the district, for positions, so this is not a decision about an individual, but a direction for the district as a whole," Bearden said.

Dean Massalsky July 12, 2011 at 04:57 AM
I did return afterward to speak at the 2nd public comment section, but at that point, the vote had been cast. being able to speak before the vote was entirely the point of raising my hand, and The salary numbers given are 25K high, as Mr. Nelson takes no benefits from Trenton Schools.
elmagaleano July 12, 2011 at 06:56 AM
Online courses allow us to serve students who live too far away to attend face–to–face courses. For instance "High Speed Universities" offer courses all over us and can get degree in months even while working.
Robert Barbantini July 12, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Throwing the least influential under the bus to cover for leadership errors seems to be the common thing to do nowadays...Did the "three school employees who are currently vying for the open superintendent spot" mention that "former Superintendent John Savel retired" was the major part of the problem with technology in Trenton? Or did they just imply that the "three current technology employees" were the problem? Did the Board even think that their "rubber stamping" of technology decisions (even though they were aware of other problems at the time) escalated the technology issues in their district? And to not let the technology staff defend themselves in the face of such blatant inaccurate criticism is truly inhumane!
Annie Ominous July 12, 2011 at 07:16 PM
A decision of this magnitude deserves at least a minimal public debate. Since there have been hundreds of thousands of dollars spent from the bond we voted in, and from the sounds of it, the IT staff of the school has been right on target on the exact problem that needed to be repaired, but outgoing district leadership chose to NOT listen to the in-house people, instead following the guidance of Plant Moran, what makes anyone think that ANOTHER outside company is the place to put the trust? Seems to me that the leadership and board may be Ina-competent. I find it reprehensible that the board would not listen to their IT staff, and that they have been thrown under the bus. I guess it is a good thing that the buses are parked due to the elimination of busing. This fall should be a joy My kids will look forward to it....in another district. If the board and leadership has any brains, they will retain their in house staff for at least a few months to give the transition a fighting chance. The reality is, they should be retained as they were, and supplemental help should be brought in, but in the current short sighted 'swing the ax and outsource' model, brains and reality have given way to idiocy and fantasy.
Nate Stemen (Editor) July 13, 2011 at 02:43 PM
These are some great comments everyone. Can you tell us here at Patch what the major problems were and why they decided it best to hand the reigns over to an outside company?
Terry Chesney July 14, 2011 at 01:45 AM
I am opposed to outsourcing but if the decision is final, why isn't this project going out for bids?
Dean Massalsky July 14, 2011 at 02:17 AM
The project was out for bid, direct mailed to 8 companies.
sine-of-the-times July 25, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Outsourcing is continuing the downfall of our middle class, once again fueled by the Republicans who TOOK AWAY money from schools, to cheapen the experience for our kids. Please sign a recall petition this week, the IT dept did! you bet! 3 jobs, $42,000...really. How about we all work for nothing. Shame on those who would bid anything below these numbers now that they are public knowledge.

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